tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 21, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
05/21/19 05/21/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy nonow! >> we have a human rights crisis at the u.s.-mexico border. this is not the first time it had happened. in seven months, we had five children that hadd died while in detention. this is unacceptable. we're doing something wrong. ththe syst i is broken.. too many children have died because of the issue at the u.s.-mexico border. amy: for the fifth time since
december, a guatemalan child has died after being apprehended by border patrol. before last year, it had been more than a decade since a child died in the custody of u.s. immigration officials. we will get the latest. then we look at the imprisonment of the leading feminist activist loujain al-hathloul. been jailed for over a year in saudi arabia and reportedly has been tortured. for years, she led a movement to lift a ban on female drivers in saudi arabia. she and two other imprisoned saudi female activists are being toored with the 2019 freedom write award. we will speak with her brother and sister. activist in is an saudi arabia. she is been in prison for more than a year now. the first 10 months she was tortured and imprisosoned withot any charges. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
the u.n. is appealing to involved parties to "lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action" as tensions flare between the u.s. and iran. iran's foreign minister mohammad javad zarif responded to what he called genocidal taunts from president trtrump, warning him t to threaten the country after trump tweeted on sunday, "if iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of iran. never threaten the united states again!" iranan has repeatedly said it ds not want war with the u.s. zarif said, "iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. try respect -- it works!" iranian state media reported on monday that iran has tripled its production of low-enriched
uranium, but still within the nuclear deal. arabia,e, in saudi yemen's the rebels said tuesday they launched another armed drone attack on an airport on the saudi happen you m many borderer. the attack comes a week after the houthis and responsibility for coordinated drone attacks on a saudi oil pipeline. the u.n. is warning food aid t o yemen n could be suspended in war-torn areas controlled by houthi fighters unless they abide by agreements to allow safe passage for aid delivery. the u.n. supplies fofood to over 10 million yemenis who are at risk of famine due to the u.s.-backed, saudi-led war. in texas, a 16 euro guatemalan teenage boy has died at a border patrol station, becoming the fifth known migrant child to die while and border patrol custody since december.
carlos gregorio hernandez vasquez was arrested a week ago and diagnosed with the flu while detained, but was not hospitalized. before last year, it had been more than a decade since a child of u.s.the custody immigration officials. we will have more on this after the headlines. on capitol hill, the standoff between president trump and democratic lawmakers over congressional subpoenas is set to intensify today as the house judiciary committee could hold former white house counsel don mcgahn in contempt for failing to appear in front of the panel today. mcgahn said he would heed trump's instructions to skip the hearing. the white house is arguing mcgahn has constitutional immunity thanks to his former role as an immediate adviser to the president. the house panel subpoenaed mcgahn to testify about possible presidential obstruction of justice during the russia investigation. cnn is reporting that the house
leadership, the democratic leadership debated last night whether to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. meanwhile, d.c. district judge amit mehta upheld a subpoena monday for 10 years of trump's financial records from the accounting firm mazars, issued by the house oversight committee. trump's lawyers attempted to resist the subpoena by arguing the request is unconstitutional because it isn't tied to legislation. judge mehta ruled the house panel had valid reasons for requesting the document and that "it is not for the court to question whether the committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations." trump's lawyer said d he would appeal the ruling. federal prosecutors in new york are looking through tens of thousands of documents related to the funding of president trump's inauguration for any evidence of illegal spending or campaign finance laws violations, including whether any foreign donors received
access to the trump administration in exchange for inaugural contntributions.s. a record-breakaking $107 m milln in donations was received fofor trump's inauguration. in new zealand, police have charged the suspect in march's christchurch massacre with terrorism. he is also facing 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder. the 28-year-old australian man is a an avowed white supremacist who emaileled out a raracist manifesto minunutes before hee openened fire with an asassault rifle at two mosques. he is scheduled to appppear in court nenext month. in indonesia, official results have confirmed the re-election of president joko "jokowi" widodo. he defeated former special forces military commander prabowo subianto by 10 percentage points. however, pro-bowl has rejected oh the final t tally, alleging wiwidespread cheating and sasaye plan to challenge the results in court. prabowo is the former son-in-law
of indonesia's longngtime dictar suharto, and had made plans to stage mass arrests of political opponents and his current allies if he won. another lawsuit has been filed against boeing, alleging the company concealed known design flaws in its 737 max aircraft from airlines and the public. mary schiavo, the former inspector general for the u.s. transportation department, filed the lawsuit on behalf of of a passenger who was killed in the march 10 crash of ethiopian airlines flight 302, which killlled all 157 people on boar. the suit argues the federal aviation a administration handnd over the bulk of its safety oversight to boeing, allowing the company to rush through and cut corners on inspecting and certifying its own jets. in san francisco, press freedom advocates are closely watching the case of journalist bryan carmody, who is headed to court
today to argue against the city police's widely denounced raidd of his home and confiscation of personal devices earlier this month. the case relates to a leaked report involving the death of san francisco public defender jeff adachi in february. police are seeking information on how carmody obtained the sealed police report, which described unflattering details about adachi prior to his death, including the use of illicit drugs while with a woman who was not his wife. carmody then sold the report to television stations. jejeff adachi had long fought against police abuses, including racism within the ranks. some of his supporters have said they suspect police deliberately leaked the report to damage his reputation. when police descended on carmody's home, they reportedly used a sledgehammer on the front door and handcuffed him while they seized his computer, phone and notebooks. carmody's lawyers will ask the court to reverse police search warrants and return his personal
goods immediately. press freedom groups are also requesting thehe unsealing of te search warrant applications. in dallas, texas, muhlaysia booker, a 23-year-old black transgender woman, was found fatally shot over the weekend. last month, a cell phone video of a crowd physically attacking booker as she lay on the ground made headlines. police say men in the video were shouting homophobic slurs at booker, who eventually got away with the help of a group of women. authorities say there is nothing connecting the perpetrator of last month's attack, edward thomas, to her shooting as of now. muhlaysia booker is the fourth known transgender person to be killed in the u.s. in 2019. according to the human rights campaign, at least 26 transgender murders were recorded last year, although it is likely the actual number is higher. the majority of those were black transgender women. in the central united states, series of intense storms brought
flash flooding, baseball sized hail, and at least 19 tornadoes to parts of missouri, kansas city, okoklahoma, and tes. claeses asanceled heavy rains foed the closure of intstate 40nother ghways a emergen reonders rcued peoe from flooded mes. a new ientifictudy fou th left unecked, climate chge couldncrease a levels worldwe by an erage ofs mu as six-d-a-halfeet by the end the cenry. e reportn the jonal proceedings t the nionanal ademy ofciences nds the flding cou leave lge swathsf coastacities underwer by 21, swampi hundre of thounds of sare les of farmland and displacing more than 180 million people. in more climate news, the guardian announced it was changing its style guide for terms describing climate events and phenomena. the guardian's editor-in-chief said the changes are designed to
better reflect the catastrophe for humanity we are facing. editors and writers will replace the term "climate change" with "climate emergency, crisis or climate breakdown" and "global warming" with "global heating." other updates include the word "wildlife" over the word "biodiversity," and "climate science denier" instead of "climate skeptic." the guardian also recently added a global carbon dioxide level report to its daily weather report. the trump administration is planning to change how it counts the number of people killed by air pollution each year, in a shift that would dramatically undercount premature deaths due to dirty air. the environmental protection agency previously estimamated tt trump's move to roll back the obama administration's clean power plan w would kill an additional 1400 people per year due to inhalation of fine particulate e matter -- aiair pollution n that's s linked thet attack strokes, and respiratory disease.
but under the epa's newly proposed analytical model, many of those deaths would no longer be counted. pete buttigieg, mayor of south bend, indiana, and 2020 democratic hopeful, appeared on a fox news town hall sunday, in which he blasted the network and some of its most popular hosts. speaking to host chris wallace, he explained why he decided to appear on the right-wing, pro-trtrump netwtwork. >> when you see what goes on with some of the opinion host on this network, when you have took her girls and saying immigrants make america dirty, , when you have o or ingrams comparing detention centers with children in cages to o summer camps? summmmer camps? then there is a reasason why anyone has to swallow hard thing for over participating in this media ecosysystem, but i believe even of some of those hosts are not there in good faith, i think a lot of people tune in to this network who do it in good faith's. there are a lot of americans my party cannot blame if ththey are
ignoring our message because they will nevever hear it. if we don't go on and talk about it. amy: presidential candidate buttigieg also called out trump's tweets and attacks as grotesque, as well as what hee calleded the media noise machine on the rhtht-win several 202020emocrati contdeders he e appeed on th network recelyly in efffforto reach trump voters minnesota senator amklobucha and vermonsesenatobernrnie sander who d dw the largest tv audience so far th 2.5 mlionon people ting in. new yorkenator ksten llibrands schedud to appe on fox ws for aown ll next nth. esident ump tookim at fo newsor hosti buttigi. accusedhe netwo of wastinairtime mayor twee peat on twier sunda and repted s attackmonday aa pesylvaniaally, sang to his suppters, "wt's ing on with foxby the w? wh's ing on tre? ey' puttingore demoats than yohave replicans." in me news fm the 20 campgn trailcaliforn setor kama harris nounced heproposalo close e gender pagap mond, which uld hold coanies lile if th fail to offer ual pay. this is senator r harris speing at a rally sunday.
>> women, for the same work, for the equal work on average make $.80 on the dollar. black women make $.61 on the dollar. latinos make $.53 on the dollar. and this has got to end. amy: under harris' plan, companies with more than 100 employees would be required to submit data on staff compensation and could be penalized 1% of their daily profits for every 1% gap in pay between men and women. profits from the fines would be used to invest in paid family and medical l leave. another democratic hopeful, washington state governor jay inslee unveiled last week the second part ofof his ambitious plan to tackckle climate chahans part of f his 2020 platform. inslee says his "evergreen economy plan" will invest $9 trillion ovever 10 years t to ce clean jobs that would also 8 million n bolster unions,, eliminine pay ineqequity, and ensure jobs for workers in t the
fossil fueuel induryry. it will also focus on building up renewable energy and environmental researarch, help upgrade buildingngs, and update water and transit infrastructure. inslee previously pledged to make the u.s. carbon neutral by 2045. and in florida, sybrina fulton, the mother of trayvon martin, is running for the seat of miami-dade county commissioner. fulton turned to activism after her son's murder in 2012, when the unarmed african-american teenager was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch vigilante george zimmerman, sparking nationwide protests. in addition to tackling gun violence, her platform also focuses on economic development and affordable housing. this is sybrina fulton speaking inin her campaign video. >> did notant to bthe voicfor trayn after dd, bui decid i have no choice. noi'm called to act and called to serve it bame cleato me theris opportunity to turn our
famil's agagedy to s somhing sitiveveor many other families . ey took my son -- toomy son being shot down in order for me to stand up, but i'm standing now. amy: sabrina fulton, the mother of trayvon martin, in her campaign ad. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today show on the u.s.-mexico border, where a 16 year-old guatemalan boy died in u.s. cusustody monday after spending a week in immigration jail. carlos gregorio hernandez vasquez died at a border patrol station at weslaco, texas, after being diagnosed with the flu. he was not hospitalized. this marks the fifth death of a guatemalan child apprehended by border patrol since december. before last year, it had been
more than a decade since a c chd died in the custody ofof u.s. immigration officials. amy: carlos hernandez was arrested near the border in the south rio grande valley on may 13, and taken to a processing center in mcallen, texas, where hundredsds of migrantsts are hen large pens and forced to sleep on mats. u.s. law typically requires minors to be sent to facilities operated by the u.s. department of health and human services within three days of being detained. but carlos was held in mcmclen for doububle that time. on sunday, six days after he was first arrested, , hernandez reportrtedly told boborder patrl agents he was sick.. rather than hospitalalize the 16 year-old, officials prescribed him tamiflu and transferred hihm to another border patrol station in weslaco. he was found dead the next morning. juan: the teenager's death comes less than a week after a two year-old apprehended by border
patrol. two weeks before that, another 16-year-old juan de leon , the tears, died. ministrymalan foreign said he died of complications from an infection in his brain's frontal lobe. the state of migrant child deaths began in december when seven-year-old jakelin caal died. soon after that, and eight-year-old boy felipe gomez alonzo died of a flu infection on christmas eve. amy: for more in a humanitarian crisis, we're joined by two guests. in new york fernando garcia is , the founding director of the border network for human rights, an a advocacy organization based in el paso. and in weslaco, texas, we're joined by jennifer harbury on the telephone. she is a longtime human rights
lawyer based in the rio grande valley, along the u.s.-mexico border, and also an activist with the angry tias. we welcome you both. jennifer has a long history in guatemala as well. but let's begin with fernando garcia. your response to this latest carlos,he death of which follows the death of the two and a half euro, which follows, which follows, which follows.s. >> they give f for having g me. it is important to say these are not circumstantial, that migrants are dying, children are theg because of the way u.s. administration, the trump administration is treating the refugees andnd asylum-seekers. it is not circumstantial because we had five deaths sinince dedecember, but also in the whoe year, we have another one that happened last may. we have six children dying while
in detention. the conditions that we had documented in detentions are horrific condititions. this is not the america we know. we had children sleeping on the with non the dirt access to water or medical attention, verery limited medication and health care. i think we have a human rights crisis -- not only cemented syrian crisis, human rights crisis because at the end of the day, the character of the nation and what we have today, it is children are dying because of u.s. tragedies. juan: i want to review what the acting commissioner john sanders said in a statement. he said, "the men and women of u.s. customs and border protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family. cbp is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody." your response?
groundsituation on the does not reflect what they are saying in the statement. disregardn a complete of the rights of refugees. let's remind ourselves, many of these children are fleeing violent conditions in the country, economic depression. .ooking for a better life in this case, children dying at the border. documented we have his gross human rights violations. juan: i want to bring in jennifer harbury. you have been visiting some of the migrants are the refugees as they're being held in detention. what is your take on what is happening? people in lot of the mexico where they're gathering "waiting their turn" to cross and then i see a lot of them when their families are being
released to go north. those are t the ones crossing wh children. they have just been released -- have g gone to t the church refe center to get a changef clothihing and arrived at the bs station.n. the difference in n their health condnditions is extraordrdinary. in reynoso, they are exhausted, teterrorized because they coulde kidnapped or have been kidnapped,d, at any momoment in nonorthern mexico. there are gunfights gogoing on. but oveverall, they andnd their children are o ok. somef f them h have a stomach b. some o of them have e colds. a cocouple of them have the flu here or there. but overall, they're doing all right. by the time they come out of the detention center where i see people like them at the bus station not long thereafter, almost all of them are really sick with extrtreme rerespiratoy problems because they are kept in holding cells with the ac cranked up so high and then
given no blankets. they literally are freezing for days on end. all of them are seriously sick. the children w with diarrhea and also, , like i say, severe respiratory problems s from the cold. they are all piled in. abouthere are you talking these as they're called, ice boxes, are? what do they look like inside? >> i cannot go into the ice box. i see people just after they are released from the icebox. but the one in our area is the is just souththat of the city of mcallen. amy: it is in the u.s., on the u.s. side of the border? >> that's right. people come across from reynoso, were them gathered at the shelter and conditions are really rough, but they are okok. by the time the e icebox o on te u.s. side gets through withholdlding them for a a few ,
they are really sick. i had a mom with a chihild just recovering from c chickenpox and she e said, yeah, we g got it ththeir. they kept us altltogether and te sleeping area. we are piled it on top of each other. they did not take us to a clinic. extreme diarrhea. there's basically no medical care. so by the time they come out, they are really sick. it is almost too late. soso we have cases like this tragedy, the person who got sent on from there exactly did the processing centeter in weslaco d abandoned and a room somewhere because you could not be held with the adults. the fact that so many of those who have died have been guatemalan -- obviously, people are coming over from honduras and salvador as well. the particular impacts, especially to you with your long history, in terms of the
,uatemalan popular movement your reaction to that as well? >> i am not sure what the cause of that is. and i certainly do want to find out. i think part of it is the extreme lack of resources of anyone from guatemala in making the way nonorth. probably just a much rougher trip. a were exposed to the conditions of probably were mucuch more exhausted by the time they got here. and then were tossed into these rooms were dormitories or pickens or whichever you would like to call them. without any medical protection or care. are slipping on the floor. they get everything from each other and more caused by the cold. amy: fernando garcia, you're nodding your head as jennifer's down there in was the car talking about that area where carlos just died.. what is the legality of this?
boxes, children in ice in freezing boxes? how long are they being held for? >> children specifically are supposed to be held only for 72 in the detention centers. after that, they should be either released or transferred. but that is not necessarily happening. in the case of carlos, he was held by border patrol for seven days. they cannot wash their hands and say they don't know anything that is happening in those seven days. that is riridiculous. what we're seeing is a complete lack of accountability, anand oversight of these institutions. i think these standards, they're not only violating human rights, but also the u.s. constitution. binding to this rhetoric t that immigrants are rapists, criminals, and
xenophobic sentiment. i think that is the reason why there are these treatment they're going through in the detention centers. ton: what kind of acaccess civil society organizations or local governments or even members of congress have to be able to get into these detention centers and ascertain for themselves what is happening? >> we don't have access. that became very clear after trump got elected. in the past, we had ve g good relations with local border patrol staons an ice ofcers. after trump was elected, we saw a number of things hapappening. kay's richard were separated from their mothers, and we do not have access. -- children were being separated from their mothers, and we do not have access. sometimes the ice boxes are being used to punish people.
if they misbehave, they will send them there. so we don't t have a access. we hadad requested many times to observe what is the situation of these children and families that are going through and it is very limited. it seems they are hiding something. what they're hiding are these conditions leading up to all of these children dying. lindsey graham has introduced a bill that would deny people the right to seek asylum at the u.s.-mexico border , forcing them instead to take their claims to u.u.s. consusuls in theirir home countries, evenf their lives are in danger. graham's bill would also increase the number of days that migrant children could be detained to 100 -- five times the current limit. your response? >> i think this is part of a larger vision of a larger agenda being applied at the border. not only do they not want more immigrants coming into the country, but they are strengthening the border to have
more military, police officers, border patrol like never before. i think we have one of the most militarized areas. even in those conditions, they still want to reject asylum-seekers. at the end of the day, they're going against american history. let's remind yourselves that many people came from other countries because of the same conditions. europeans came to the u.s. because e they were fleeing violence. it seems what the trump administration is goining againt history -- amy: we're going to talk about more about that in amendment we have to go to break. fernando garcia is joining us in studio, usually in el paso and jennifer harbury is with us, longtime human rights lawyer, speaking to us from wesley go. afafter that we will be speakikg with a brother and sister of the leading saudi feminist human rights activist who has been jailed for more than a year.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. our guests are jennifer harbury of the angry tias speaking to us from was the co-, texas, where another guatemalan child was u.s. bordern custody. we also joined in studio by fernando garcia, founding director of the border network for human rights based in el paso. juan: fernando, i want to ask you about president trump's threats to send the refugee applicants who are in detention into sanctuary cities as a sort of payback for the two sanctuary cities for their rebellion against federal policy. i'm wondering your thoughts about that? >> is seems like that is the way -- "punish"th a those cities that had welcomed
immigrants. i thinink that is very horrific because what they're trying to do is create the suits of crisis that does not exist. at the in of the day, the so-called national security crisis is not happening. what they're trying to say is these immigrants represent a threat to the united states. that is why they're releasing more immigrants in phoenix and arizona or in california, san diego. they want to make a case for releasing immigrants in these so-called sanctuary cities. but i think this is not going to work. what we're seeing in most of the cities, including el paso and along the border, people in communities are welcoming these immigrants because this is what we are. this runs in our veins. we are a nation of immigrants. i think there is no way we can a race that. amy: jennifer harbury, you have a long history with guatemala.
you are married to a man -- you were married to a man who was a mayan comandante and guerrilla who was disappeared. you fall for a long time to have his whereabouts known. you learn to was tortured and murdered by u.s. of a back guatemalan military. that was back in the 1980's. how do you relate what has happened there then and the massive number of deaths estimated at, what, up to 300 thousand people killed in guatemala through the 1980's into the 1990's, with what is happening with the exodus of guatemalans today? >> i think there is a definite relationship. for one, the united states worked absolutely hand and glove throughout the war with the army on all of the genocidal campaigns. we were literally sit in cia people to join planning sessssions. but really stands out is the
fact that so many of the high level guatemalan intelligence era who wereat trained in t the schchool of paidcas and were cia informants also o had slowly but surely become involved in the drug trade. after the war, rose to the top and started their own cartels. ist are my husband's killers exactly susuch a person. on the corruptome officer list but they cannot go after him because he is a former cia contact. one of our former partners. therefore, he is off-limits. so we created these frankensteins. we trained them, we e talked thm torture techniques, and armed them. they don't need the money anymore and there devouring the country using the same techniques of torture and the terror that they used before. ononce again, everyonene is roag
north. can we stop the true cause, which is them? we could, but we won't. we're not releasing files that would put them in jail. we still have relationships with the army that one by one keep showing up as being extremely involved in the gangs. we keep supporting the frankenstein family, as i will call it. those are what the people that are driving the hundreds of thousands of people north. no one can survive there anymore. and we would not stay there with their children for one minute. with our children for one minute. it is the same people and we're once again standing back and letting them do it. juan: jennifer, your say after the peace accords and the supposed establishment of civilian government and several of the central american countries, that nothing fundamentally has changed in teterms of how -- of the
conditions of the people, whether it is in guatemala, salvador, or honduras? guatemala say that in there is 300 people being killed every afternoon. yes, are the mining companies burning villages down and driving leaders into hiding and stuff just like before? yes, it is still going on. ththere is been no true change n the structure. we have got people thrown into jail at the highest levels of the guatemalan government, for example, and not long ago, one of the key candidates for president was arrested in florida for trying to get the hisl cartel leaders to fund campaign and also shoot his opponent. so the actual structure of the government in all of these countries has turned to rubble. the army leaders they carried out the worst of the dirty wars are still and effective power
and now there are the cartels. amy: i wanted to get your response, fernando, to the jared thener immigration plan for new york developer, son-in-law of president trump who is come up with an immigration plan. i wanted to talk about what happened last week stop last week the trump administration unveiled plans for a new, so-called merit-based immigration system that would prioritize highly-skilled and english-speaking workers, while further restricting asylum seekers and immigrants who have familyly living in the united states. many lawmakers calling the plan short on specifics and a nonstarter. this is washington democratic commerce member pramila jayapal. >> it does not include any protections for dreamers. it does not include any plan for the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are in this country that need a path to citizenship. it undermines the family immigration system that has been the cornerstone of our country's immigration policy.
washingtons congressmember pramila jayapal. >> it is a polititical stunt. i guess the president is trying thenergize his base for 2020 election. this plan does not havave any future of passing. it might have a chance in the senate, but i doubt it, not even republicans support this plan. it also democrats clearly reject it for the same reasons why pramil was mentioninga, it does not contain a solution for the 11 million people who are dreamers or daca recipients. i think this is not going anywhere. juan: the new york times reported today "access to a government jet 24 hours a day, an office in the west wing, plus guaranteed weekends off for family time and an assurance of being made secretary of homeland security by november." those were among the list of 10 coconditions that kris kobach,
former kansas secretary of state, has given to the white house if he is to become the administration's immigration czar, a job president trump has been looking to create a coordinate immigration policy across government agencies. your reaction, fernando, to the possibility of kris kobach becoming the immigration czar of the u.s.? >> it is one thing after the other.r. i was listening to the story, refugee on a plane with me coming to new york, to new york city. she was telling me another testimony of the conditions in detention. they don't have watater. they don't have milk for the children. they don't have medicine and medication. they don't have basic services that they need. now we're willing to is been money on other stuff and not really taking care of children in detention? theink it just reflects
priorities of this administration. instead of releasing the children, we're building walls, expensive walls. i think there's just follows the same pattern. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, fernando garcia founding director of the border , network for human rights, an addressee organization based in el paso. jennifer harbury is a longtime human rights lawyer based in the rio grande valley an activist , with the angry tias. when we come back, we look at the imprisonment of saudi activist loujain al-hathloul, who is been joe for more than a year -- who has been jailed for more than n a year. wewe will speak thth her brother and sister. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. now to look at saudi arabia's jailing of female activists who have challenged one of the world's most misogynistic governments. it was." this month on may 15, 2018, when saudi aututhorities arrested loujain al-hathloul and four other women. they were accused of undermining national security. she has been held ever since. born in 1989, loujain is an icon
of the saudi women's rights movement. for years, she led a movement to lift a ban on female drivers in saudi arabia and to overhaul the kingdom's male guardianship system. in 2014, she was arrested after attempting to drive from the united arab emirates to saudi arabia. a a video of herer driving with viral.l. i am loloujain al-h-hathloul. i'm gogoing to try to o cross te saudi rdrders. 'm dving a car i own and i license.ited emirates amy: she tended to run in the first minas collection open a female candidates. but she was subsequently disqualified. despite multiple arrests, loujain continued to speak out for women in saudi arabia. she was arrested again on may 15, 2018, as part of a broader crackdown on female activists and critics of the saudi
government. according to human rights groups, she has since been held in solitary confinement and been subjected to abuse including electric shocks, flogging, and sexual threats. the saudi government has resisted calls from human rights groups and lawmakers from around the world to release loujain and the other activists. tonight loujain al-hathloul is being honored with the 2019 pen/barbey freedom to write award along with two other imprisoned saudi female activists, nouf abdulaziz and eman al-nafjan. loujain was also recently included on the time 100 list recognizing the world's most influential people. we're joined right now by loujain's brother and sister walid and lina al-hathloul, who , are in new york to accept the pen award on their sister's behalf. thank you very much for joining us. is facing whahat lina -- what you understand -- what loujain is going through right
now? >> there has been different things since her arrest. 2018 --arrested in may we were018 august 2018, not allowed to have any visits. i think from august, my parent's could see her once a month. during this period are we were not allowed to have any visits, she is been tortured. she is been flawed, electrocuted, sexual harassed, deprived of sleep. and that was the period where she was in a secret prison. when they allowed for the visits, she went back into normal prison. in december she was sent back to the capital of saudi arabia
where my parents live. in december, january, one visit a month. in march, they announced there is going to be a trial. out thewhen she found charges. some for almost a year she did not know what the charges were. so now she is still in prison. she is facing a trial, but the trial is really not transparent because we don't know when the next session is. we don't know how everything is going to be presented. she is just waiting endlessly. of thealid, in terms charges against her, what is the government accusing her of doing? >> typically, when -- before her arrest, the local media was , local media, semi government, to some extent, owned by the government, typically they were saying she was accused of being associated
with foreign entities. we do not know who these entities are. they have not specified them. like working as a spy, basically. getting finance from foreign entities. and undermining state security. when the trial started, we did not know exactly what the official charges were at that time. but on the first session of the 13,l, which was on march when we saw the list of charges, really there's nothing that says she was being a spy or was being financed by foreign entities. there is a document that is a beingocument that is circulated on twitter and social media saying she received a
around 2 million u.s. dollars. they are showing she got that.t. but on the official list of charges, there's really nothing that says that. most of the charges are related to her human rights activism, like having contacts with human rights watch, having contacts with amnesty international, like having contacts with foreign journalists in saudi arabia. and even one of the charges is applying for a job at the united nations. clearly, nothing that says is actually backing these allegations that started when she was first arrested. amy: can you talk about who --lina, could you talk about one of the top advisers to the crown prince and what is he doing in this jail with your sister?
>> officially, i don't think he whatny power anymore, but we have been hearing is that -- -- he all of the saudi was a consultant in the royal court. so he was one of the people who wenzhou wasng transfer the first time when she got arrested. and when she arrived come he asked her which you prefer 20 years of prison or the death penalty? that is the first time she saw him? that he wasd us part of the torture sessions and that he was the one ordering it and that he was clearly laughing at her and mostly enjoying it.
amy: was he threatening her with rape? >> yes. with rape and murder. he even said if he wants it, he can even make her body disappear in the sewage system. amy: was to waterboarded? >> yes. she was waterboarded, flogged, electrocuted, forced to eat until she could not accepted anymore. activism,er years of among the conversations you had with her in terms of her insistence that she had to stand up in a socieie that is a a repressive o of women and what kinds of conversations you had about what drove for to take this courageous stand. andhe is always been brave courageous and hated injustice. she has always told us -- they always tell her, slow down, it
is going to happen, don't force things. saying,always been women still can't drive, women considered a child until their death. i don't want to wait anymore and things have to happen and we have to act. so she was really convinced that acting was the right thing. amy: i want to go to your sister injain in her own words 20, she and her husband d were intervieied by nickck pelham of the economisist magazine.. if yoyou could drive,e, if your wiwife could dririve, which arae alive fundamentally change? is i it such a huge isissue? >> it is a conststant issusue ie every y day. emotioionally, too,, because i y a lot because of thatat issue. lilike who is going to drive me arouou? who o is goingng to take me up o
just to beg peopop to take m me around i is i insulting. for the e financial papart, does afaffect a lot. it takes a good 30% to 40% of my salary sometetimes to o pay for ivivers st to o take me to thee necessary y things, the e necesy places like home to work, worked a home. amy: that is loujain al-hathloul . she has been imprisoned for a yearar now, just over a year. according to u.s. intelligence officials, saudi crown prince mom and bin salman has sanctioned an operation to carry out a secret campaign againstst dissidents. the missions were carried out by what u.s. officials call the saudi rapid intervention group whose members appear to have been involved in the torture and killing of journalist jamal khashoggi. the group also seems to have been involved in the detention and abuse of more than a dozen saudi women's rights activists who campaigned against the ban on driving by women, including
loujain. can either of you talk about this force? do you know about it? >> no, i don't. amy: and let me ask you on the driving issue. is it true that when the crown prince announced that women would have limited access -- they would be able to drive, that at the same time the world was hailing him as a great forward thinking leader, he was arresting the very driving activist like your sister who had fought for this for so long, telling them they should not tweet, should not comment on saudi arabia ending the ban on driving? can you explain what this was all about? >> before the announcement, all of the activists have been told not to comment anything. at the very beginning, we thought it was a good thing because maybe society, tradition, etc., it is a good thing to do to come down -- calm
down the people who are not used to changes. we thought it was ok, we won't comment, just make it happen because what we want is change. so we did not. ththey did n not comment anythi. whwhen we saw afterwards, even they stayed silent i got arrested, tortured, so we changed our vision and we really think it wasn't maybe the right thing to do to be silent from the beginning. juan: walid, both you and your sister live abroad, not in saudi arabia. do you have concerns or self about the reach of the saudi authorities s to those who speak out, even if they're not in the country? >> to some extent, yes. finding --king -- i'm being cautious in terms of my movement and where i go and also how to communicate. yes, i do have some concerns but
so far i have not -- i have not received any direct threats, but i do receive threats on social media. but that is not a direct threat to me. yes, i do have that kind of concern because we have seen iople who were targeted and fear this could happen to me as well. juan: and your parents are still in saudi arabia. how are they faring? how often do they get to speak your sister? >> they speak with my sister like every sunday, but i have limited contact with them because we can't really reach them on a daily basis, if we can put it that way. so we have really limited communications with them. amy: at a gala dinner last month honoring time's 100 most
influential people, the comedian called for the release of loujain. he also called out jared kushner was at the gala, over his ose relationship with udi crow prin m mom a thehen lmon. >> i know there a lot of powerful pplple he a and i wowod be crazy if, ion't know, ther was -- if there was highananking official in the whee house that could what's up mbs and sa heyey, may you could he t that rson getut ofrison beuse e th don''t deserve it. but that would be craz that person woulhave to i in the room. just a good comedy premise. time 100king at the event where jared kushner was. he was talking about freeing your sister. what do you want jared kushner, president trump to do? we are speaking for things to
change. so whoever has the power to do something about it, we really wish they would act and ask for her release. that is all we want is our sister to be free. so whoever has the power. juan: and the imports of your sister being honored tonight by pen? >> that is really great. loujain recognition, even forloujain, it gives her so much -- a little b bit of freedomom knowing she is supported and i think it is really important for her to stay strong and for us also, it is -- sometimes we feel like we don't have any power in our hands to change things. but knowing people are being supportive is really good. amy: can you comment very quickly on the two women who are also being honored along with your sister nouf abdulaziz and , eman al-nafjan.
>> yes, i think it is really great that it is not only loujain, but other women who are a bit less internationally known are also being honored because they have fought as much as my sister and they also deserve it and i'm really proud of them as well. amy: jared kushner sometimes is referred to as, well, the two of them, mbs and jared kushner, the crown prince and the clown prince. what do you think of their close relationship come almost seen as the crown prince whisperer, just recentlyly went to saudi arabiao meet with him yet again even after the murder of "the washington post" columnist khashoggi? >> i'm not very political. story.now is my sister i can't comment on something i don't really know anything about. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, lina and walid al-hathloul, sister and brother
thank you for joining us on "nhk newsline." i'm keiko tashiro in tokyo. six years in prison, a japanese man was sentenced by a beijing court for spying. it's the second ruling this week against a japanese national in china found guilty of espionage, adding to a growing list of similar cases. the latest one involves hijd suzuki. the head of a tokyo-based